Less than a day after President Trump mentioned at a coronavirus press briefing that he received "a nice note" from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the remote country denied any recent correspondence between the two.
“I received a nice note from him recently. It was a nice note," Trump said. "I think we’re doing fine.”
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday carried by state media outlet Korean Central News Agency there was no letter addressed to Trump recently by “the supreme leadership,” a reference to Kim.
North Korea on Sunday dismissed a comment President Trump made that he recently received "a nice note" from the Hermit Kingdom's leader, Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
"We cannot know for sure whether the U.S. president reminisced about past correspondence, but our leadership did not send any letter to the U.S. president recently," KCNA said, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.
State media added it would "look into the matter" as to why U.S. leadership released the "ungrounded" story into the media.
“The relations between the top leaders of (North Korea) and the U.S. are not an issue to be taken up just for diversion nor it should be misused for meeting selfish purposes,” the statement said.
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In March, North Korea said Trump sent a personal letter to Kim offering cooperation against the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time, Kim’s sister and senior official Kim Yo Jong said her brother appreciated the letter during this time of “big difficulties and challenges,” and said Trump explained his plan to “propel the relations between the two countries ... and expressed his intent to render cooperation in the anti-epidemic work."
A senior Trump administration official said at the time that Trump sent a letter to Kim that was consistent with the president's efforts to engage global leaders during the pandemic.
Kim and Trump have met three times and exchanged letters and envoys on many occasions since 2018 when they began talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was not mentioned as taking part in ceremonies during the Hermit Kingdom's biggest holiday known as "Day of the Sun." (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
The nuclear diplomacy has made little headway since the breakdown of their second summit in Vietnam in early 2019 when Trump rebuffed Kim’s calls for sweeping sanctions relief in return for a partial denuclearization step.
On Saturday he said he has "a good relationship" with Kim" and that North Korea has been testing short-range missiles for "a long time."
"We're doing just fine with North Korea. Just fine," the president said. "We'll see how it all ends up."
Pyongyang continuously has a steady flow of photographs and video hitting North Korea's state run TV network. It is the regime's effort to show the country the personaility of its leader.
Questions also swirled over Kim after he was apparently absent from Hermit Kingdom's most important holiday, April 15, the birthday of the country's first dictator, known as the “Day of the Sun.” While concerns about coronavirus may have resulted in quieter celebrations this year, some observers noted Kim may want to highlight his own destiny instead of focusing on the past.